Comment and Opinion

Washington Post: The US is trying to let Iran punch itself out, by David Ignatius


Here’s the most intriguing fact about Iran’s apparent seizure on Saturday of a small oil tanker about 240 miles northwest of here: Thus far, it has brought only a muted response from the United Arab Emirates, in whose waters the vessel had been operating, and from the United States, which is quietly organizing a multinational effort to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf.

If this were a boxing match, you’d say that the United States is trying to let Iran punch itself out. The United States hasn’t retaliated for several tanker incidents near the Strait of Hormuz over the past two months, or the shoot-down of its surveillance drone, or other provocations. The U.S. military lets Iran keep throwing jabs – while readying a knockout blow if it’s ever needed.

“It’s an international problem, it’s not a United States problem,” said Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, in an interview early Tuesday as he traveled here. He said that any escorting of tankers through the strait should be done by countries that depend on oil from the gulf, with the United States providing reconnaissance and other special tools to enhance what he called “maritime domain awareness.”

Read the full article at the Washington Post.